5 Facts About the Instagram Algorithm

Ready to separate fact from fiction for the Instagram algorithm?

In a series of Instagram Stories from the @creators account, Instagram walked viewers through the most common questions regarding the algorithm.

Here are the answers we’ve all been waiting for:

Fact #1: All Account Types (Personal/Business/Creator) Are Treated Equally

Want to switch to a Business Profile, but worried it might affect your engagement?

Don’t be! Instagram has confirmed that all account types are treated equally when it comes to the algorithm.

 5 Instagram Algorithm Myths: Debunked!

In fact, it all depends on the individual user. If they regularly engage with your content, odds are you’ll rank higher in their Instagram feed.

Plus, with an Instagram Business account, you can auto publish your posts to Instagram with Later — no late night logins required!

This will save you a lot of time — and make sure you always have a post ready to go live on your feed.

Plan and schedule your Instagram posts in advance with Later for free — it’s the easiest way to stay on top of your Instagram game! 


Fact #2: All Comment Lengths Count as Engagement 

One of the longest-running myths about the Instagram algorithm is that it doesn’t count comments that are less than 3 words in length.

The reality? All comments are taken into account, even if they only contain an emoji or two.

5 Important Facts About the Instagram Algorithm

Comments are an important engagement indicator for the Instagram algorithm, so with this in mind, it’s a good idea to reply to your comments on a regular basis.

Not only will this keep conversations active on your posts, but it also shows your audience you’re listening — which can be great for promoting future interactions.

TIP: Struggling to stay on top of all your comments? With Later’s Conversations inbox, you can view all of your most recent Instagram comments in a feed on your desktop computer, so you’ll never miss an Instagram comment on an organic post again — even if it’s on an older post!

Looking to learn more about the elusive algorithm? Find out How the Instagram Algorithm Works in 2021 in this blog post.

Fact #3: The First 30 Minutes After Posting Doesn’t Determine Your Ranking

This has been a huge rumor in recent years, and one that Instagram has finally put to bed.

5 Important Facts About the Instagram Algorithm

That’s right, posts are not prioritized by the algorithm just because they get more engagement in the first 30 minutes.

The algorithm will still serve your content to the users who regularly engage with your content, which means it can still gain traction — even after the first 30 minutes of posting.

However, it’s still a good idea to share your posts when your audience is most engaged.

Scheduling your Instagram posts for optimized times is a good way to reach your audience when they are most likely to comment and like your content — rather than when they’re half asleep, or more focused on a busy workload.

It can be tricky to know exactly when your audience is most active, and this is often specific to a brand’s demographic, location, and area of specialism.

With Later’s Best Time to Post feature, you can automatically calculate your 7 top posting times based on your best performing posts from the recent month.

increase engagement on instagram: best time to post


Fact #4: Photos and Videos Are Treated Equally 

Instagram put a big rumor to bed in their recent Q&A, confirming the algorithm has zero bias between photo and video content.

 5 Instagram Algorithm Myths: Debunked!

Essentially, the Instagram algorithm prioritizes the type of content a user engages with the most — so if they regularly spend more time engaging with videos, the chances are they will see more video content in their feed.

This is interesting for brands to note, as video content automatically attracts a longer viewing period due to its extended format.

Video also gets 4X more real estate on the Instagram Explore page, which is a huge advantage when it comes to attracting more engagement indicators.


TIP: New Instagram features, such as Reels, benefit from an extra exposure boost to help drive adoption. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to embrace new features early.

Plus, Instagram Reels are now discoverable from the main navigation bar. This is a huge change on the app, and a significant push to have users browse and share Reels more often.

Fact #5: Fake Interactions Don’t Count 

Thanks to Instagram’s machine learning algorithm, fake interactions (such as using bots or comment pods) will always be identified and ranked as such.

In their recent Instagram Stories Q&A, Instagram shared that the best way to build sustainable engagement is by being authentic and transparent on the platform.

In short? Trying to cheat the system doesn’t work, no matter how elaborate your scheme is.

If you genuinely want to improve your algorithm ranking in 2021, the most important thing is to post consistently and regularly engage with your audience.

The best way to do this? Plan and schedule your posts in advance with Later!

Building a genuine relationship with your followers is the most powerful way to “hack” the algorithm.

Jillian Warren

Jillian is a content marketer at Later based in the UK. She is an aficionado of London brunch spots and an avid listener of true crime podcasts. You can connect with her on Instagram @jillwrren.

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